Learning probabilistic models of tree edit distance
Marc Bernard, Laurent Boyer, Amaury Habrard and Marc Sebban
Nowadays, there is a growing interest in machine learning and pattern
recognition for tree-structured data. Trees actually provide a suitable structural representation to deal with complex tasks such as web information extraction, RNA secondary structure prediction, computer music, or conversion of semi-structured data (e.g. XML documents). Many applications in these domains require the calculation of similarities over pairs of trees. In this context, the tree edit distance (ED) has been subject of investigations for many years in order to improve its computational efficiency. However, used in its classical form, the tree ED needs a priori fixed edit costs which are often difficult to tune, that leaves little room for tackling complex problems.
In this paper, to overcome this drawback, we focus on the automatic learning of a non parametric stochastic tree ED. More precisely, we are interested in two kinds of probabilistic approaches. The first one builds a generative model of the tree ED from a joint distribution over the edit operations, while the second works from a conditional distribution providing then a discriminative model. To tackle these tasks, we present an adaptation of the Expectation-Maximization algorithm for learning these distributions over the primitive edit costs.
Two experiments are conducted. The first is achieved on artificial
data and confirms the interest to learn a tree ED rather than a priori imposing edit costs; The second is applied to a pattern recognition task aiming to classify handwritten digits.